Agriculture This Week - Examining the USMCA deal

To the surprise of many in the face of the rhetoric of American president Donald Trump, a new North American trade deal has been hammered out.

The reaction has been generally positive, at least in this country among farm organizations.

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It may be a case of the initial support for the new deal is more an exhale of relief than a true, deep-seated belief in the deal being a good one.

Of course, just how good the deal may be will not be known for some time, as the details are looked at, and enforcement issues arise.

The concern that has to be in the back of many people’s minds, across a variety sectors, is that this deal was inked with the American negotiators working, at least in part, off the clearly protectionist agenda of Trump. That has to place this new deal under at least something of a cloud of suspicion.

The Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) are among those that so far are happy that a deal of some kind is in place.

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is a significant achievement that will support the integrated grain supply chains that exist and will encourage economic growth across rural Canada, related a release from the group

“This is a historic agreement that serves the interests of grain farmers from coast to coast,” said Jeff Nielsen, President of Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) in the release.

The GGC suggested the new deal “gives farmers the certainty they need to continue to invest and grow.”

Closer to home for many Prairie producers is support for the deal from the canola sector.

The Canola Council of Canada (CCC) welcomed the announcement that a trade agreement had been reached.

“We are pleased that an agreement for continued stable trade with two of our four largest markets has been reached,” said Jim Everson, president of the CCC in a release. “At first glance, we’re pleased that open trade for canola will continue and that we’ll now be able to export further processed products like margarine without tariffs being applied.”

Of course no deal of such scale satisfies all.

Turkey Farmers of Canada (TFC) sent out a release stating they are examining the details of USMCA, but are concerned turkey farmers and their families will be hurt by the terms of the agreement.

“While we look for further details on the implications of the deal, we know that any concessions made, in addition to previous concessions under the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), come at a cost for our farmers and rural Canada,” said TFC Chair Darren Ference in the release. “We will be looking to the government of Canada for an action plan to support our farmers in light of trade deals that are eroding the sustainability of our local food sector.”

“Ninety per cent of Canadians say they want turkey produced in Canada according to a recent survey, but this deal will cause losses of family farms and less local turkey production.”

And that is the likely truth of the deal, there will be winners and losers, it’s just a matter of time to understand which sector is on which side of the ledger.

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